Whole-of-life financing for hydropower development


Uganda is targeting a 22% emissions reduction from a business-as-usual scenario by 2030. Achwa 1 is part of the government’s efforts to expand and make green the country’s energy grid. It is a 42MW run-of-river (ROR) hydropower station in Northern Uganda. Climate Investor One combined with Berkeley Energy to provide the funding necessary for the construction of the Achwa 1 dam.


  • Lack of expertise and prolonged negotiations with financiers make it difficult to obtain funding for infrastructure projects in Uganda.
  • The estimated USD5.4 billion required to meet Uganda’s emissions reduction targets cannot be solely financed by the public sector.


Climate Investor One is a whole-of-life financing facility combining:

  1. A Development Fund (USD30 million) financing up to 50% of development costs to cover social, technical, environmental, and financial support
  2. A Construction Equity Fund (USD500 million) financing up to 75% of construction costs with three tiers of capital
  3. A Refinancing Facility (USD500 million) providing long-term, senior debt financing secured by project assets. It has right of first refusal on up to 50% of the long-term refinanced debt of projects after they enter commercial operation.

Stakeholders involved

  • Netherlands Development Finance Company – A group incorporated in the Netherlands, funders of Climate Finance One, which created the Construction Equity Fund for Achwa
  • Berkeley Energy – An emerging markets clean energy developer and fund manager; manages the Africa Renewable Energy Fund
  • Electricity Regulatory Authority – The federal agency responsible for the Ugandan electricity network


Results and impact

  • Lower energy costs: Due to the combination of facilities, projects are built for 7–21% less capital than typical. This is passed on as 9–18% lower energy costs for consumers.
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: The Achwa 1 project will avoid approximately 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, by delivering up to 190 GWh of clean energy annually.

Key lessons learnt

  • A whole-of-life finance vehicle such as Climate Investor One removes the need for complex, multi-party financing structures. This reduces the time and cost required to reach financial close for a renewable energy project, accelerating development. 
  • New market entrants in the renewable investment /  development space (such as Climate Investor One) can benefit from the local expertise of experienced project developers and asset managers (such as Berkeley Energy) through collaboration.

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